After writing this for a while, it occurs to me that I'd better break it up into several parts. I can easily write, and have written a trilogy (no, not sharing, I am just a Tea Chatter and retired teacher.)
We have run a no kill cat shelter from our home for about 23 years now. So many people think that cats and dogs can support themselves after being house animals and dumped in the country. They can't, generally, though some survive, become feral, mate and produce a lot more kittens. We have managed to get all of the local ones in here and now have about 30 ish cats.
I used to adopt out until I found out what happened to 2 of the kittens. Now I Do Not Adopt Out. You might want to think where you will get food for your large reptiles, especially if you don't breed your own rats, cats and mice. (And if you do, I'll hunt you down and neuter you.)
Living Room, Kitchen, Hallway and Bathroom Cats
To start with the oldest, we have Hoover, a 21 year old gentleman (neutered) tabby with terrible paw pad problems which makes them ooze, crack, bleed all over the place. Our vet is wonderful and we've discussed amputation but I feel at his advanced age and infirmity it would be better for me to continue soaking his paws in salt water and keeping them moist, giving antibiotics when they become infected. Hoover doesn't mind the extra attention and he will nurse on my shirt - he always has. His purr is raspy and rusty sounding but very loud. Hoover does not mind his oral meds and has never scratched or bitten when given a shot. I keep towels on his favorite nesting places and change them out daily when his paws ooze badly.
Hoover's lost his canines and needs canned food but unfortunately the other cats have learned to watch when I get a can of food, so he ends up with company for his canned food feedings. He doesn't mind and will cuff the others away from his food, even Linus who is a white with patches and at least twice his size. His cataracts are worse than mine, but he still gets around well.
Hoover isn't really the oldest, just the most infirm. (like me, lol) His mother, Callista, is a brown and orange tabby with the sweetest disposition of any cat who has allowed us to live in their home. She prefers living on top of the refrigerator with several of the pride so she can jump down and purr at me and talk me into an extra feeding. Callie is very good at that. She and her sister were deposited in my husband's truck outside our home. Both were pregnant, of course. Her sister is gone, as are the orange tabbies who lived till their mid teens, John Big Bootay, John YaYa and John O'Connor. (Can you name the movie?)
Cuddlekins is one of my favorites and she, Cisco, Mamma Katz, Moonlight in Shadows and Silverkins were dumped on our front porch. I went outside in the afternoon and found a duct-tape sealed box on the porch. That isn't odd, as most of my computer stuff has to be shipped. There were no holes in the box and it was almost 100 in the shade. I brought them in and said a lot of very nasty words about the person who dumped them, and they drank for a half hour straight. All were pregnant. Before letting them in with the general population I gave them their first shots and took them to the vet. They were too close to delivery to spay and in a couple of days we had seventeen kittens, including one little soul with spina bifida.
He was an incredible fighter, little Scooter. Although the smallest kitten, about the size of a very small mouse at birth, he never missed a meal and would scoot from queen to queen to get fed and petted. The Queens would fight over him, stealing them from each other while they slept. He had a chance to live and after 6 weeks, we thought this little guy would make it. Someone was already building a little wheel harness for him. He did make it into our hearts and many others, but one morning while he cuddled with me while I wrote, he went to sleep and never woke. Scoot is buried with our old white Siamese with blue eyes, CassPurr the first. All the cats or kittens who leave us are buried in the front yard with a statue of St Francis standing over their sleep. I still tear up when I think of those two, Cass who left us at the age of 24, and Scooter, who was only 6 weeks.
Another kitchen cat is a 10 year old pure white with blue eyes who was dumped into one of our attached cat houses, aka kitty domiciles. She has never permitted a human to touch her, hisses if I look at her but will condescend to take a treat from my hand. Her name is She Who Hates Me, shortened to She, which she will answer to if there is food involved.
Tuxie is a gorgeous tuxedo female (spayed). She, her sister Orca (another tuxedo) and SheShe were all dumped into one of the cat houses. Unfortunately the person who dumped the kittens in there didn't ask if she/he could and ended up putting the three females in the house we use for un-neutered males. Soooooooooo we ended up with Moose (a huge pure black gentleman), Mr. Tibbles (white with tabby patches), and Jingle Bells, aka Ballsy (he has not yet been neutered but is visiting the doctor tomorrow for the big snip), Grits, a large gentlemen tuxedo, and Muffin, a mostly gray tabby with flecks of orange.
Orca. I miss her so, though for the 11 years of her life she never permitted a human to come near her or even pet her - that is until three days before she left us. I went into the garage and she started winding around my ankles. She let me pet her and pick her up and purred, even licking my face. I couldn't feel anything wrong with her, but since I have never been able to catch her, she was one of the two who have not had their shots. I tried to give her all the cuddles, pets and snuggles possible but one day I went out to the garage and she was sleeping on a pile of towels I had put out to be washed. She lifted her head and meowed and went back to sleep. I petted her and talked to her until she left. Orca is with the others now.
Akira and Akira, same name, identical white with tabby patches and mustaches ladies, live in the living room, mostly on my husband's monitor and computer. Since the greatest majority of the dumped cats, including these two gorgeous girls, are white with tabby patches or obvious Siamese mix with blue eyes, we suspect they come from the same source.
Many of them drink by dipping their paws in the water (or the human's tea). It isn't unusual to find several of them in the water dish with their front paws in the water. I have several glasses around the kitchen which we keep filled with water for their convenience.
Oolong likes to sleep on my computer and will often reach out with a paw to touch my hair or face. She is a lovely small tabby with white mittens and a love of oolong tea. Oolong is a very recent dumpee who just walked into the living room one day. I haven't a clue where she came from, maybe she just teleported in. Since we live in the country, we've never really messed with locking the doors, or the cat house doors (2 cat houses, 12 by 12 in size, windows, beds, runways - they rarely use them, preferring the rest of the house), it is easy for a bipedal humanoid piece of poo to dump them and run.
I was drinking my first tasting of Ali Shan when Oolong walked into the living room. She jumped to my desk, smelled the pot and stuck her head in my cup and started drinking. So Oolong is her tipple of choice, and her name. She is the consummate lap cat and very assertive of her lap rights.
Since we recently had a home invasion in the middle of the afternoon while I was sitting right here in plain sight, we're getting locks for all the doors. The dogs escorted the would be burglar out and down the street. I suspect Toby and Gunny had a taste of him as well. He's just lucky Pookie didn't get to him before the dogs did.
Linus and Linux were 2 of the 17 born here. They are huge gentlemen who are white with tabby patches and weighing in around 20 pounds. Linus grooms our hair and is fascinated by my husband's beard and loves grooming that as well. He will curl around my husband's head at night and lick his hair, sucking on it as well and purring wildly until he goes to sleep. He and Abba Angel Baby share my husband and sometimes will permit Mothra to snuggle
Linux is a dentist, or was in another life. He loves trying to get into a person's mouth and will watch until he has the chance, then he'll start licking. Both of us have woken up to find Linux's head down our throats. We have learned to shut him out of the bedroom at night, just for that reason.
I'll finish this with Pookie. I went outside one day and Pookie, a tiny tabby runty rat of a cat, crawled up my body and sat on my shoulder, rubbing her face in my hair and purring. She eats massive amounts of food, smacks the other cats around if they irritate her (by breathing too closely, hogging food or my attention). Pookie still prefers sitting on my shoulders and I have learned to hold still and just endure her walking up my body. She weighs about 5 pounds, if that, and has 18, very sharp and efficient claws. I have so many scratches on me that one nurse asked if I was a "cutter." (some people cut themselves to relieve anxiety, I don't, I prefer food and tea.)
Not long after she decided to live with us, I made a lovely mushroom stroganoff for our dinner. Before going to bed, I went to the fridge for a drink and found Pookie IN the refrigerator IN the casserole dish, eating. Madame Pookie hissed at me when I tried getting her out of the casserole and out of the fridge. I called the husband person to come help me get her out of the fridge. She slapped his hand away. The husband person decided to let me deal with the cat. I tried enticing her with a piece of cheese. HA, as if she was going to leave a dish with a luscious sour cream sauce for a lousy bit of American processed cheese product.
In the end the husband person removed the entire shelf, WITH the casserole dish and WITH Pookie still in the middle of the dish. We did not have mushroom stroganoff leftovers the next night and have learned to check the refrigerator, stove and microwave before going to bed.
I'll write again, hope you didn't nod off. Haven't even started on the dogs. Purrs and barks, Jeanne[/i]